The 400 meter top speed team consist 4 members who run 100 meter each with a Baton.
Recent record of a 400 meter relay event winner is less than 38 seconds. If calculated, 4 runners ran each 9,5 seconds the 100 meter section. This is faster than the world record holders Usain Bolt’s record. As a result, 400m relay team members were faster than Usain Bolt who has world record in 100m.
Currently the world record is 37.10 seconds by the Jamaican team in Beijing Olympic games 2008. The last athlete’s Asafa Powell’s 100m section record was 8.70 seconds.
The biggest feature of relay events is Baton. Baton is made of aluminum alloy, 28~30cm long, 12~13cm in circumference and the weight is over 50g. A relay baton is carried by each runner and must be passed within a 20 m changeover box (usually marked by yellow lines) which extends 10 m on either side of each 100 m mark of the race and team will be disqualified when dropped baton out of baton exchange zone. Needless to say, the harmonious team works when exchanging baton is very important.
Setting order of the runners is also very important. Mostly, the first runner is good at start and cornering, the second runner for straight, the third for curve and the last runner is the fastest in the team.
Traditionally, USA has dominated this event. Men’s team has been winner 15 times out of 22 events since relay adopted as official event. In women’s event, USA won 9 times out of 19 times. Nowadays the Jamaican team including Usain Bolt is rising as an new conqueror in relay by wining Beijing Olympics in 2008 and World Championships in Berlin 2009.
We are looking forward seeing the competition between Jamaica and the United states in IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011.